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Do It Wrong

I have really long hair, and supposedly the right way to brush really long hair is to start at the tips and work your way to the crown of your head, brushing only a few inches at a time, to prevent knots.

Give me a break.

One of the worst things you can do is the simple act of thinking about how to do something the right way. Don't do it right, don't be perfect. Just do it, and if it's half-assed, at least it's done!

Consider this: I need to build a trellis for some roses. I've been in a minor obsession about this all week, thinking of where to get the materials and how to put it together. Because it needs to be just perfect. Instead, I should either a) go buy a cheap, imperfect trellis, or b) just get some stuff and put the thing together, figuring it out as I go. In either case I would already have the trellis and I could obsess about something else for a while.

Do work when you know you don't have enough time to do it right. Pick something up and throw it out on the way to the door. Clean the sink, but don't scrub it out and clean all the gunk around the faucets. Be imperfect, do a slap-dash job. It'll get you further than sitting around, paralyzed by the need to be perfect.

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Your post really resonated with me. Too frequently I'm frozen into activity because of the need to be perfect. I'm in the midst of this now because I'm decking out the patio this year with lots of flowers (big event happening in August) but I seem to have this compulsion that ALL MUST BE PERFECT. I spend far too much time agonizing over which plants to put together in which pots.

Yet I don't know how to change my attitude toward this so I can just have fun putting the things together and stop sitting around staring forlornly at all the plants yet to be potted. ARGGH.

The 15-minutes-o-cleaning method works well for cleaning compulsions; you set a clock for 15 minutes, you work for that time, then you stop. And if you do a little bit each day, it's not so bad.

I'm a big fan of the 15-minute work cycle. I don't tend to need it as much, these days, but it works very well for motivating me to do something I don't want to do (like this California water law paper I am working on right now). 15 minutes of work, 15 minutes off, lather, rinse, repeat.

The other thing I have realized about myself is that I try to figure things out in my head when I could figure them out with stuff more easily. Like choosing pots for plants: wouldn't the best thing to do be to get them all together and put them side by side, figuring it out? Or deciding how long the curtains should be hemmed. It's taken me two years to realize I can hang them and mark the hems with pins to try different lengths, then take them down and hem them. I don't have to know it all before I start.

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